William Barret Travis was on 9th August 1809 in South Carolina. He’ll remain in history books as a great Texas commander at the Battle of the Alamo. Travis spent his entire childhood in Saluda Co., SC that was also James Bonham’s home, another warmly regarded of the Alamo defender.
Travis studied law and worked as an attorney for a short period before marrying Rosanna Cato at the age of 19. Within one year, when he was barely 20 years old, they had a child, Charles Edward Travis.
Having not moved out of the area, he started the publication of a newspaper, became a Mason, and eventually became part of a militia. However, their marriage soon failed. Travis deserted his wife, son, and the unborn daughter, and went to Texas.
After he had arrived in Texas in early 1831, Travis got a land from Stephen F. Austin. He established a law firm to practice law first in the Anahuac town, and later at San Felipe.
When rivalry started between Mexico and Texas, he was one of the first individuals to volunteer to join Texas forces. When Mexican General Martin Perfecto de Cos called for the surrender of the cannon of Texan which led to the Battle of Gonzales, Travis was one of the hundreds of people to come to its strong defense. However, he arrived very late, to participate in the action.
Following the orders from the Provisional Governor Henry Smith in January 1836, Travis moved into the Alamo with almost thirty men. Within a short period, he became the commander of the group, when the then commander James C. Neill took a break to care for his family.
Travis was the commanding officer of the Texas defenders during the Battle of the Alamo and the Siege. His Appeal from the Alamo for the highly-needed reinforcements has become an American symbol of unyielding heroism and courage.
Even though he got a few reinforcements before Alamo fell, he and more than 180 defenders offered their lives for the Texas independence on 6th March 1836. Being a real hero, I am sure you want to learn more about William Barret Travis. Below are more interesting facts about him.
1. One year after the end of the battle, executing the orders from the General Felix Huston, Colonel Juan Seguín led the recovery of the abandoned ashes of different Alamo defenders from three locations. On March 28th, 1837, the authority conducted an official public ceremony to give a decent Christian burial to the reclaimed ashes. It was alleged they were buried in the neighborhood of the Alamo, but over time no one could remember their exact site.
2. In May of 1831, after arriving in Mexican Texas, a portion of the northern Mexico at the time, Travis bought land from Stephen F. Austin, who then appointed him the counsel from the US.
He established a law practice in Anahuac and assisted to come up with a militia to oppose the Mexican rule. He later became a key figure in the Anahuac Disturbances, and the ruling regime imprisoned him for his involvement.
3. On February 27th, 1829, Travis passed his final law examination and got permission to practice legally, so he loaned out $55.37 to start a law office, and $90 earlier in the year to pay for the Herald.
Now in debt and without any practical income, he took in three boarding students, and to assist Rosanna with the huge workload, he bought two slaves. The cost of maintaining slaves heightened his expenses, pushing him further into debt.
4. On February 24th, 1836, during the Santa Anna’s siege of the Alamo, Travis wrote a special letter addressed “To the People of Texas and All Americans in the World.” He handed this letter to the courier Albert Martin to deliver it.
The envelope which contained the letter was labeled “VICTORY or DEATH.” While unable to provide reinforcements to the garrison at the Alamo, the letter did much to boost the morale of the Texan army and assist in mobilizing support in America for the cause of Texan independence. Also, it cemented the status of Travis as a real hero of the Texas Revolution.